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Judge allows Greentop Fire's case against Adair County to continue

A case filed by the Greentop Volunteer Fire Association against Adair County officials will continue, a judge ruled Tuesday (Photo: KTVO)

A volunteer fire association’s case against Adair County officials will continue after a judge denied the county’s motion to dismiss the suit.

In September, the Greentop Volunteer Fire Association filed suit against the Adair County Commission and County Clerk Sandy Collop, saying that they acted outside their authorities in a secret meeting, then attempted to cover it up by refusing to produce related records.

The fire association asked to fine each official up to $6,000 for each record that the county refused to produce.

In a ruling earlier this month, Judge Terry Tschannen rejected the fire association’s request to fine each official personally.

The association alleges that in March 2014, the commission approved the Adair County plat book which included fire protection district borders that had been changed.

Collop also earned some vindication in the ruling. The petition says that Collop refused to produce a copy of the plat book, telling the fire association that it “is not a county document.” As in most Missouri counties, the Adair County Assessor’s Office keeps the county’s plat book, not the clerk’s office. Tschannen pointed out the book “is readily available to all persons, including plaintiffs, without having to obtain it from the defendants.”

The rest of the petition will move forward.

The commission has long held that it did not change any boundaries itself, but only approved what other offices had already agreed to.

The fire association also accused Collop of refusing to produce any record of the March 2014 meeting in an attempt to cover up any evidence that it had taken place.

Tschannen also voiced frustrations with the county’s lack of urgency in responding to requests for discovery, saying that they have “utterly failed to provide a timely response,” and waived any objections the county may have had with relevant discovery requests.

If the county does not respond to discovery requests by Jan. 3, Tschannen said that the county could expect sanctions from the court.

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